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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Vikings still on top

Two-time defending state champions have big holes to fill and plenty of talent in the cupboard

Coeur d’Alene High School senior Jeremiah Hazard, left, and junior Matt James will be anchoring the strength of the team this year, the offensive line. (Kathy Plonka)
Coeur d’Alene High School senior Jeremiah Hazard, left, and junior Matt James will be anchoring the strength of the team this year, the offensive line. (Kathy Plonka)

The Coeur d’Alene football team knows back-to-back 5A state championships are nice.

But the Vikings want to prove that a third straight title is even nicer.

No 5A team has won three consecutive state titles. The Vikings, who opened with a 40-36 road win over Skyline of Nampa last Friday, want to be in a category by themselves.

“That could be pretty special,” CdA coach Shawn Amos said. “But we’re a long way from there. We just want to work like a state champion. Then you can be satisfied with whatever happens.”

CdA, which was ranked atop the preseason poll last week, has a blueprint of what it takes to capture a state title. But even if the Vikings are athletically blessed, Amos has realized it takes much more than gifted players.

“It takes a lot of luck,” he said. “You have to have a lot of components come together. There are a number of things that are out of your control. You have to realize that you can set a state title as your goal, but most of the time you’ll fail.”

That won’t keep CdA from trying.

“They’re still the best team in Idaho,” Lake City coach Van Troxel said. “They know how to win and they believe. Everything right now goes through Coeur d’Alene.”

Troxel points out that CdA must replace the best player in the state, quarterback Chad Chalich, who has turned some eyes in his first fall camp at the University of Idaho.

Chalich played a relatively error-free season leading CdA to a 12-0 record last fall.

“We’ve had an undefeated season (2006) and we’ve had to replace the best player in the state (Byron Hout),” Troxel said. “They’re hard to replace.”

CdA will start more juniors (12) than seniors (10). The juniors, most of whom are new to varsity, comprise one of the most talented classes in CdA history.

They were undefeated as freshmen and undefeated on the junior varsity.

The Viks’ strength is their offensive line, anchored by seniors Jeremiah Hazard and Cameron Dominguez and junior Matt James.

An extra interesting ingredient is Amos is throwing his junior-based team against the most difficult schedule in school history.

“We’re aware of what we’ve got ahead of us,” Amos said.

“It wasn’t done without consideration. We’ll see if they’re ready to execute against a higher level of opponent. If we’re not there yet we’ll see how far we have to go to get there. Win, lose or draw it will make us better. It’s going to be interesting to see how we adapt. Our kids want to play (the schedule).”

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